Yesterday’s YouGov poll also had the fortnightly tracker of people’s attitudes towards the cuts. It’s the first time they’d been asked since the VAT rise came into effect, and show a significant drop in public support.

Asked if the government’s cuts will be good or bad for the economy only 38% now think they will be good, compared to 47% who think they will be bad. In comparison between October and December last year it was roughly even between people thinking the cuts would be good and those thinking they would be bad.

On whether the cuts are being done fairly or unfairly, 57% now think the cuts are being done unfairly, again the highest we’ve shown so fair. Finally 72% of people now think the cuts are having an impact on their own lives, up sharply from 62% in December.

Note that 52% of people still think the cuts are necessary, 35% unnecessary. So while people increasingly don’t like the cuts and think they are unfair… a slight majority think they are necessary.

UPDATE: On unconnected matters, MP Eric Illsley has pleaded guilty to false accounting. If he gets a sentence of over 12 months (or chooses to fall on his sword) he will be disqualified from the Commons and we’ll have a new by-election in Barnsley Central (we should also have a by-election in Belfast West at some point once Gerry Adams resign to contest the Irish general election).

222 Responses to “Falling public support for cuts”

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  1. I’ve been a regular BBC Radio 4 Today programme listener for some time now, a habit forged during my daily early morning pilgrimages to work over many years. I’ve even developed a tolerance to John Humphreys as I’ve weaved my weary, bleary way across the nation’s chaotic and congested commuter arteries, otherwise known as the motorway network, but I’m more a Jim Naughtie man myself, as anybody should be who has, for example, listened to his erudite and informative essays from America every four years as he covers the US Presidential elections. I’m less sure about the relative newcomers to the programme, Evan Davis and Justin Webb, but the crew, along with Sue MacGregor, have been my dawn companions for many decades now.

    Anyway, I digress. This morning at about 7.20am, Norman Smith, the BBC’s Chief Political Reporter, did a fascinating piece from the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election, with two things particularly catching my ear and tickling my interest.

    Firstly, he felt that the long-standing Liberal tradition and mature grass roots party organisation in the seat might well shore up the Lib Dem vote, despite the party’s lowly standing in the national opinion polls. Secondly, he interviewed a died-in-the-wool Tory Party supporter and activist, and you could almost hear the venom being spat as she spoke, who said that she and her party had always regarded the Lib Dems as their sworn enemies in the constituency and went on to say that, wait for it, she knew many Tories who were going to vote Labour to keep the Lib Dem candidate out! She categorically denied any soft pedalling to help her coalition partners; in fact, quite the reverse. My flabber hasn’t been so gasted for many a long year!!

    The tangled, political webs we weave and who’d bet their life on the result in a pot-pourri of a constituency like Oldham East and Saddleworth? I’m staying up for the count and declaration for this one, that’s for sure!

    As for my final prediction. I’m sticking with a narrow Labour win. 500-800 majority.

  2. i wonder what the odds are of the oldham east and saddleworth voters going to the polls three times in one year

  3. RiN

    Are their local elections there in May? That would produce a bit of certainty in the odds! :-)

  4. Yes, Mr Hadley…that’s what I’ve been hearing here and there. (Some*) Tories would rather switch to Labour than see Lib Dem win.

    It’s a volatile cocktail. Fun from afar!

    *Just how many some is, that’s the question.

    I still say a pretty massive Labour win, bearing in mind the protest element too.

  5. @Nick Hadley

    PM (one hour) can’t compete with Today (three hours) for in-depth coverage, but this evening they had a slightly tounge-in-cheek piece (21 min mark on iplayer) where journalist Betty Milligan went on a search for the office for the “Big Society” in Whitehall. Should be of help to anyone still confused about Dave’s big idea. ;)

  6. Nick and Nick

    There really shouldn’t be any surprise over this. Officials from different political parties are at their most vicious when their policies are fairly similar on many political spectrums and they are competing for the same group of “core” voters.

    Just look at the situation in Scotland where you will find variations of this within any combination of the aspirant two parties in a particular constituency. (Of course, with us, it becomes even more complicated when there are genuine 3 or 4 way contests in some places.)

  7. Billy Bob,

    I heard that too. It was hilarious, almost a comedy sketch. I think that if the reporter next looked at the £2m search for happiness, it could be very similar.

  8. @BillyBob,

    Didn’t hear the report. But surely a similar search could have been launched for the Office of Education, Education, Education or any number of other concepts, slogans and ideas over the years.

  9. old nat

    i was talking about voting for an MP

  10. I still don’t have the feeling of a convincing Labour win. However, I think Lab will just win it with a slim majority.

    Turnout 51%

    Lab 37%
    LD 32%
    Con 21%
    Oth 10%

  11. @Neil A

    No, she (*Becky* Milligan to give her due credit) did find it. She also spoke to Francis (“new zeitgeist”) Maude and the chap in charge of cutting red tape along the way.

  12. Lab 43%, LD 26% Con 20% other 11%

  13. @Socallberal – “Sarah Palin is a lightweight”

    Any thoughts on a likely Republican candidate to challenge Obama?

  14. Any thoughts on a likely Republican candidate to challenge Obama?
    Dennis Skinner? :) Or maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger if the Americans would allow him to stand for office but I can’t think of a possible contender other then Sarah Palin. An unknown! Maybe Americas David Cameron.

  15. @Billy Bob

    Funnily enough, I did listen to the PM piece on my way back home and, like Garry K, I thought I’d entered a time tunnel and zoomed forward to April 1st!! Francis Maude is a decent fellow, but has a track record of being a slightly bumbling and ineffectual politician and is of some considerable vintage now. I always get the impression with people like Francis Maude and Oliver Letwin that they would be thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining company for a convivial dinner party, but I wouldn’t put them anywhere near a brewery in the event that a p*ss up might need to be organised.

  16. OMG – have you seen the new thread?!

  17. As a Labour Party supporter I recognise that Francis Maude before even Portillo recognised that the conservartives had to broaden their appeal and alter their stance on social issues in particular, race, women, gay rights etc.
    If you like he was an early Tory moderniser.
    Had he and a few others been listened to earlier 2005 could well have been a hung parliament as IDS (as was) and Howard rightly or wrongly represented what many saw as unatractive about the Tories.

  18. Kyle
    I’m afraid they have to change the constitution for Arnold.

  19. Socal Liberal

    There is a book by an American Unitarian minister “All I need to know I learned in kindergarten” which he claims is the solution to all the worlds’s problems e.g. “Clear up your own mess” is the solution to all pollution etc.

  20. @ Billy Bob

    “Any thoughts on a likely Republican candidate to challenge Obama?”

    Nah, not really. I think there could be a few. Mitt Romney might prove to be a strong candidate for the GOP.

    @ John B Dick

    “There is a book by an American Unitarian minister “All I need to know I learned in kindergarten” which he claims is the solution to all the worlds’s problems e.g. “Clear up your own mess” is the solution to all pollution etc.”

    I think that early childhood education helps but it’s not the answer alone. There are no easy answers to crime problems.

    @ Barney Crockett

    “I’m afraid they have to change the constitution for Arnold.”

    They’d be better off changing it for David Cameron. He’d be a far more successful candidate than Gropenfuhrer.

  21. I’m getting really put off by all the advertisements and extras now appearing on this site. Tweets!! Who cares? This used to be a site for discussion, by definition tweets are pointless for discussion unless you are trying to attract 12 year olds who can only manage one word.

    Too many distractions. Fewer needed!

  22. ‘Nah, not really. I think there could be a few. Mitt Romney might prove to be a strong candidate for the GOP.’

    Isn’t he the non Christian like a Mormon or something that daft. Would even the republicans swallow that?

    yes, they would, they had the idiot Bush…

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